We were told the wait was two and a half hours. We waited two full hours. And. It. Was. Worth. It.
Okonomi is a tiiiiiny little Japanese restaurant tucked away on the north side of Williamsburg. It opens from 9am-3pm on weekdays, and 10am-4pm on weekends (at night, the restaurant becomes Yuji Ramen). It serves only traditional Japanese ichiju-sansai set meals for breakfast and lunch. “Ichiju-sansai” literally means “One soup, three dishes” – aka a healthy set meal.
I was pretty skeptical with the raving reviews. How good could breakfast really be? I did my little Yelp search beforehand and saw all the photos. The food looked pretty and small – usually the opposite of how I like my food. We got there at 10:30am on a Saturday and already saw a long line forming out the door. Someone sat outside with a suitcase – that’s when you know the place is good. That person NEEDED to eat here before jetsetting off.
Two full hours later, me, N.T., B.J., and A.H. got seated across from this couple.
You can only order the ichiju-sansai (set menu) (~$30), but can choose your fish. We had a choice of Spanish mackerel, some kind of tilefish, and a sashimi over rice bowl. I got the Spanish mackerel, which is pictured here along with all the other dishes. (FYI those flowers were real :)) Continue reading Okonomi: a perfect Japanese breakfast→
My go-to bagel spot is Ess-A-Bagel on 1st Ave and 21st street. And one really only needs one bagel spot in their life. This is why I had yet to venture to Tompkins Square Bagels, even though many East Villagers have told me about how great it is. Seemed like TSB is a lot of people’s bagel spot. One weekend, I decided to cheat on Ess-A-Bagel (yikes) to see if TSB was really all that.
It is a cute open spot on Ave A, with plenty of seating in the back.
The bagels are made in-house everyday. There are a ton of sandwich combinations on the board for you to pick from. Ess-A is a little more no-frills (no “Jessie Jane Roast Beef” type of sandwiches at Ess-A, you just tell them what you want in your sandwich and they make it for you).
LAW and I shared the cream cheese and lox ($8.00). Really nothing special. The lox was very mild, and almost not salty enough for the cream cheese and sesame bagel. This needed at least some capers or something to get rid of the blandness.
LAW and I also shared the BLT, which was better than the lox but still was lacking. The saltiness from the bacon helped add flavor to the overall blandness of the bagel. Iceburg lettuce was fresh and gave the sandwich a nice crunch. I think it needed more mayo, because the whole thing was just so dry.
My favorite, if I had to pick one, is this scallion cream cheese with cucumbers and tomatoes on an everything bagel. The cream cheese is NECESSARY because the bagel is just so damn dry. The salt crystals on the everything bagel is also necessary because the bagel is so damn bland. Tomatoes and cucumbers were average. Nothing to write home about.
Close up of the bagel. Looks lame, yeah? Am I missing something?
Though I was born and partially raised in the US, I still don’t feel quite fully American. The red, white, and blue does not resonate as mine… nor does the red and yellow of the Chinese flag. I’m stuck somewhere between, like many third-culture kids. But nonetheless, America, you have provided me and my family with so much love food and care food. Thank you and happy birthday!!
I’m going to be ironic and post about my favorite Chinese breakfast dish (well… one of my favorites) on this glorious birthday. This dish, 牛奶鸡蛋 or Milk and Eggs, is something my grandpa always made for me because it is, in his mind, the most extravagant thing you could make for breakfast. It contains milk, sugar, and eggs, three things that were so rare in his lifetime and my mother’s childhood that it has, to this day, remained special in our family. Essentially, you poach an egg in milk. Milk tends to burn very quickly so you must boil it over low heat. Once the milk is boiling, you add sugar and crack a fresh egg in it. You let it cook for a few minutes and turn off the heat. You serve it immediately in a bowl.
When you eat it, you break up the poached egg so that the yolk spreads… making the milk taste faintly of egg. The process of boiling milk makes the milk taste extra creamy so that even skim milk tastes whole. Gosh this is so good. Sometimes we add a little bit of oatmeal to the milk so that we get a little more fiber and texture. Mmm…
Alright, off to the festivities. I’m going to have a fancy hot dog party so stay tuned for my post on that.
Monday was a big day for me. I needed some serious brain power to get me through the day. Some people go for a run in the morning. Others get their dose of coffee. I make sure I have a good breakfast, full of rich brainy ingredients. After perusing the top 10 best brain foods, I decided to make the Ultimate Brainwich.
I randomly decided to buy pork floss from HK Supermarket the other day because it is possibly one of the greatest comfort foods. I grew up eating this and always felt that we, the pork floss and I, had a very special relationship. It was a little weird like I was*, kind of funny looking**, and often misunderstood***. It was also always looking out for me. Anytime a bland food would force itself upon me, Pork Floss would always be on the rescue to make life a little sweeter, saltier, and tastier.
Anyway, with Pork Floss readily available in my kitchen cupboard, I decided to make a Taiwanese Club Sandwich for brunch. This is a type of sandwich that you can find in every bakery in China or Chinatown. Like the banh mi from my last post, this is a East-meets-West fusion kind of sandwich.
Mickey D breakfasts are only reserved for early mornings of really long days … And when there is no time for health but just the perfect amount of time for a heavy dose of a delicious fatty breakfast sandwich.
A lack of ingredients in the pantry has led to some creativity. Fried up some marinated ground pork and spicy green peppers. Cooked the meat until it was dry and slightly crispy. Also scrambled some eggs together – lately, I’ve been throwing the eggs directly into the pan without beating first. This way, the eggs whites cook quicker and I can have soft orangey egg yolk in my scramble. Anyway, put the meat dish and eggs on top of an english muffin half and grilled the sandwich. I used honey wheat english muffins; the honey ended up complementing the spicy peppers very well.
I have a McDonald breakfast about once a year and it is always when we have an early shoot and need to buy cheap and good food for everyone. This is the first McGriddle I’ve ever had (surprising because I love the sweet and savory combo). It was good. Worth the money for sure though the pancakes were a little too drenched in maple syrup for me. My friend who is reading over my shoulder as I write this just told me the McGriddle is like 600 calories. Excellent.
Clinton St. Baking Company
4 Clinton St
(between Avenue B & Houston St)
New York, NY 10002
BEST buttermilk biscuit sandwich I have ever had. We waited in line for an hour and a half (we also went at prime hour, Saturday at noon) to have breakfast here. The biscuit is not overly buttery (unlike the one at Popeye’s, which I also really like) yet somehow still tastes so damn good. It is slightly crumbly, which pairs perfectly with their homemade tomato jam (what ketchup tries to be). The scrambled eggs are creamy and the hash browns are crisp on the edges and soft otherwise. You can still taste bits of sea salt crusted on the crispy edges of the potato… mmm… Continue reading Clinton St. Baking Company: Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich→